The Wine Tasting Shop


It’s all happening in Balham if you’re feeling a little soif. Gazette, the French bistro, moved to huge new premises in March 2011; The Clarence pub had a complete refurb, opening at the same time; and a new wine-tasting shop opened on Hildreth Street within days.

Previously, Oddbins had been the pinnacle of the wine-tasting experience in Balham, but the Wine Tasting Shop is raising both glasses and stakes with a fresh selection of fine wines to sample every day. The wines are stored below inert gas, while owner Julia Michael is anything but inert – her enthusiasm for the subject bubbles over anyone crossing the threshhold.

Be warned that most of the bottles start around the £10 mark, and that tastings are not free – you have to buy a ‘loyalty card’ first, £5 for ten samples.

In 2014, the Wine Tasting Shop looks set to expand as part of the redevelopment of Hildreth Street. Once the on-licence is granted, wine can be sold to drink on the premises (bottles for a flat £9 mark-up). Tables outside are planned in good weather, until 9pm in the evening, with cheese and charcuterie platters to go with the drinks.

Venue name: The Wine Tasting Shop
Address: 18 Hildreth St
SW12 9RQ
Opening hours: Open 11am-9pm Mon, Tue; 11am-9pm Wed-Sat; 10am-7pm Sun.
Transport: Tube: Balham tube/rail

Average User Rating

4.5 / 5

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1 person listening

This is a fab place. Not sure I would call it simply a wine shop. At the weekends it turns into a bar reminiscent of "Cheers". Julia and Manny make everyone feel really welcome and their knowledge and enthusiasm for wine and running are infectious. They have wine tastings which are great if you don't know much about wine (no pressure just drinking nice wine). The wine is slightly more expensive than usual but I am always happy to pay extra as it's really good. Now I get why it makes sense to spend a bit more on wine.

nick e

Why buy wine at Waitrose for £8-10 which is as likely to be stale as not when WTS charges you a couple of quid more for something a lot better?